How to Maximize the Value of a Board Meeting

A board meeting offers an opportunity to discuss key corporate issues with a variety of experts. They can provide a variety of perspectives, which is crucial when deciding on large-scale strategies and defining the ways in which teams work toward those strategies.

However, the efficacy of a board session is contingent on the way that leadership directs the discussion and ensures that it stays on topic. No matter how energizing or detailed the agenda, when discussions drift off topic and run over-time, meetings will not be effective. Additionally, if important documents are not handed out to the attendees prior to the meeting, it could be difficult for participants to prepare and participate.

To maximize the value from board meetings, start each meeting with a 10-minute recap that reiterates the key aspects of the previous pre-meetings, as well as the board’s package. This will help clear the board members their minds and keep them focused.

Distractions from new discussion topics can eat up meeting time and divert board members away from the most important agenda items. Include a parking area item on the agenda to allow for discussions on topics that might require further discussion but aren’t a top priority.

After the agenda has been set it’s crucial to hear reports from the executive director, as well as any standing or committee reports. It’s also helpful to have someone read financial reports, but only if they are in need of further discussion. After discussion is over, the chair should open up the floor for a vote on each item. Before a vote can be called, a motion must be “seconded”.

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